Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tree Trimming

Christmas 1955

Christmas 1921

Christmas 1954

Christmas 1911

Christmas 1915

On a dim and sleepy Saturday morning in early December I met Mabel Watson Payne and her parents at the Powell Street underground station in downtown San Francisco for the trip to the East Bay where we arrived early to help set up the annual tree trimming party – one of many longstanding American traditions that are all-new to the newborn.

There is little debate now about the likelihood that this baby is teething. She is biting fingers left and right, whenever she can get them anywhere near her mouth. Even her sunny temperament is somewhat impaired, though she struggles bravely to remain cheerful.

The pacifier was hung from a short ribbon, like a lorgnette, the demand for it having increased, since it is another good thing to bite on (though fingers are generally even better).

In the afternoon the guests arrived and took up the mighty job of hanging a thousand or so ornaments.

Mabel Watson Payne postponed her nap until the children had found places for all the ornaments, even the broken and battered ones. Then she could relax with her newly precious pacifier and let her father rock her to sleep.

The hummingbird is one of the few new ornaments this year, the gift of a long-established friend.

Historical images at top are here.